By Tracey Seaman
Cheesy goodness smothered in garlicky tomato sauce. That is the stuff our eggplant parmesan dreams are made of. But the beloved old school version is breaded and fried, adding tons of saturated fat and carbs to an otherwise semi-healthy dish. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to give the classic dish a makeover, keeping what’s good about it—three types of cheeses, a velvety tomato sauce and the creamy eggplant itself—but instead of rolling it in breadcrumbs and pan-frying it, we’ve drizzled a little olive oil on the slices and grilled them, lending a charred, slightly caramelized flavor to the eggplant.
To bottle summer’s last rays, we’ve made our own Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic. You can double the batch and freeze half for later this fall when plum tomatoes are no longer in season. Likewise, you could double the entire Grilled Eggplant Rollatini recipe and freeze some for later days, when the sun’s rays are weaker, the days are shorter, and you long for the taste of sweet basil and tomato cloaking a cheesy slice of eggplant.
An Eggplant Parmesan 2.0 Menu
Organic or Biodynamic Pinot Noir
Kale Caesar Salad
Step 1: Peel and crush the tomatoes.
Step 2: Cook the oil, garlic and tomatoes and simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour.
Step 3: Slice and salt eggplant and drain for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: Preheat grill.
Step 5: Drizzle the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 6: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, combine the cheeses, egg and basil together. Top eggplant with mixture and roll up.
Step 7: Put tomato sauce in bottom of casserole dish, arrange eggplant rolls in rows, spoon remaining sauce on top, cover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more.
Step 8: Plate, serve, eat, love.
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- 2 medium eggplant (1 pound each)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ricotta cheese
- 2 ounces Parmesan Reggiano
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Fresh basil
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 cups Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Trim and peel the eggplant and cut lengthwise into ¼-1/3-inch thick slices. Layer in a colander placed in the sink, sprinkling with a little salt in between the layers, and let stand 20 minutes to remove any bitterness. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium.
- Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels and brush or drizzle each slice lightly with oil. Add to the hot grates and grill uncovered until marked underneath, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the eggplant, cover and grill until nicely tender but not charred, about 5 minutes more. Transfer eggplant slices to a plate and let cool.
- In a bowl, mix the ricotta and Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Lay eggplant slices on a work surface (using 2 small pieces together if necessary) and top with a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture. Cut the mozzarella crosswise into ¼-inch wide sticks, place 1 on top of each portion of cheese and roll up to enclose the filling. You should have 16 rolls; chop any remaining mozzarella for topping.
- Preheat the oven to 375. Spread ¾ cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 2½-quart shallow casserole. Arrange eggplant rolls in the baking dish in rows and spoon remaining 1¼ cups sauce on top.
- Loosely cover rollatini with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle any chopped mozzarella on top and bake uncovered until hot throughout and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle more chopped basil on top and serve.